tisdag 25 maj 2010

The stupid-bracelet

You know the "WWJD"-bracelet (What Would Jesus Do?) - I would like to rename it. I would like to call it the stupid-bracelet. Either that, or your extremely well educated. I, for once, who have read a decent bit more than the next guy regarding the life of Jesus (and incidentally believe in him as the son of God), would never be able to look at that bracelet and go "aha, now I know exactly what to do!". For instance, you're a gay woman ready to come out of the closet (a situation that would be considered a question in need of some pondering in some christian circuits) and you look down at your WWJD-bracelet... Useless guidance! There is not single gay woman in the whole of the Bible. There are only gay men, and the homosexuality referred to is (the general consensus goes) that of old men and young boys. (Homosexuality as a way of being married and staying faithful to one person, was an unknown concept for the Roman society in which the Bible was compiled and edited.) Given that we want some guidance on Jesus' particular action, there has to be some interaction with Jesus that indicates what would he would've done. And when you think about it, most situations of today doesn't have a prejudicating case that involves Jesus.

A distinction is called for here. The problem with this bracelet is that what would Jesus do seem to be a metaphor for what would my church community expect from me. As historians, anthropologians, theologians and christians we commonly don't know enough about the contexts in which Jesus interacted with people. And with this lack of knowledge makes it impossible for (almost) anyone to actually get a rough idea of what Jesus would really do in a situation.

Furthermore, what Jesus - aka God - would do or not is not transferrable to mortal humans - aka not God. For instance, Jesus never married - but that doesn't mean that you ought to say no to your spouse-to-be at the altar. Jesus never had sex with anyone as far as we know, that doesn't mean that everyone is supposed to live in celibacy and become munks/nuns (and quickly end the history of Christianity, as no more Christians are born - mission however effective would not suffice to cover the death tolls). Some things, are also (in the form of action) quite indifferent, from the WWJD perspective. Would Jesus Twitter for instance? If Jesus would indeed Twitter this is a sanctioned DO (an action). But it doesn't actually include what Jesus then would Twitter about (as the content of the action "typing on a keyboard" is not a DO (an action).

And to sum the argument up, the most austere aspect of this is that people who carry their WWJD-bracelets actually think that the can sum up the actions of Jesus' life. This, I think is a dangerous temptation that we ought not to give in to, as this surely belittles the Christian idea of God as the origin of creation, a God bigger than our comprehension, bigger than language, and ultimately bigger than any action we are able to perform. That, my dear friends, is why I'd like to call it the stupid-bracelet.

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